Stroke care system vital, Ahrens tells EMS group
Tue, Sep 26, 2017
Building a stroke care system improves the efficiency of stroke care by reducing barriers and delays. Through such a system, patients receive quality care from the time a stroke occurs to the time they reach an emergency room.
That’s what Dr. Kerry Ahrens, an emergency medicine physician with BayCare Clinic, told emergency medicine doctors and administrators at the recent Paramedic Systems of Wisconsin conference in Green Bay.
“Your chance of surviving a stroke is increased if you receive appropriate and effective care as soon as possible after a stroke,” Ahrens said. “Unfortunately, many people may not recognize they’re having a stroke. That’s why it’s important for people to know the symptoms and how to respond appropriately.”
Ahrens is well-versed in stroke care. As an emergency medicine physician, she is often one of the first medical experts to care for stroke patients. She sees the need for consistency in care.
“There’s a need for increased knowledge of stroke care in communities, not just at the EMS level,” she said. “Stroke care should be consistent and efficient at all levels of care.”
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot or bursts. Without blood and oxygen, part of the brain starts to die. Immediate response is vital because every minute following a stroke matters. From the time symptoms first become noticeable to the time treatment is received, more brain cells begin to die.
The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association encourage you to use the letters in “fast” to spot stroke signs. Take immediate action if you notice them.
- F: Face drooping. Look to see whether one side of the face droops or is numb. When you smile, is it lopsided?
- A: Arm weakness. Check to see whether you can raise both of your arms and look to see if one arm drifts downward.
- S: Speech difficulty. If speech becomes slurred, see whether you can repeat a simple sentence.
- T: Time to call 911. If someone is experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911, even if the symptoms have gone away. Time is crucial when dealing with a stroke.
The three-day conference took place at Tundra Lodge in Green Bay. More than 70 emergency medicine doctors and medical directors attended.
About BayCare Clinic
BayCare Clinic, baycare.net, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in Northeast Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. With its 100-plus physicians, BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, serving clinical locations in 13 regional communities. Based in Green Bay, Wis., BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center.